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Don Post Deluxe Darth Vader Helmet

Don Post's Deluxe Darth Vader was one of their most successful and quite importantly, accurate helmets the company produced. Fashioned out of fiberglass they had a wonderfully glossy appearance and at the time was a massive step-up in quality for a Star Wars movie collectible. It is a very accurate helmet cast from an original ESB helmet which only had one glaring fault - for some reason the grey/black colour scheme on the face plate was reversed - and this was believed to be at the request of Lucasfilm Licensing to differentiate them from an original prop. This has never been confirmed but if it was the reason then its a pretty daft one since its hardly rocket science for a fraudster to repaint a helmet the right way! From a licensed perspective, the OT Vader Helmet has never been matched, and the great shot above from CSMacLaren fully demonstrates that.

Below some photos from CKing of his (now sold) low-numbered Deluxe Fibreglass Vader. This particular helmet is especially good as it has a really low number (see plaque photo its numbered just 86), and therefore benefits from an overall better shape (later ones had additional warping as the same mould was used again and again, as was not effectively cleaned over the production run of 1000)

As you can see its in fantastic condition, and (as of Jan 3rd 2003) is about to go up for sale on ebay. The photo's below so the face, along with its certificate and plaque showing its low number (#86). If i'd had a few more quid I wouldn't be telling you about this now. I'd a done a quite deal with Chris and this baby be mine! Oh well, so many props, so little cash!

The Don Post Limited Edition Deluxe Darth Vader (DP Ref 82100). Only 1,000 of these helmets were ever made, and you can therefore expect to pay circa $400 in this depressed market for this great helmet, although price varies greatly according to condition and  plaque number. It was supposedly moulded from an original ESB film-used helmet - although there is some disagreement over whether the Dome is in fact a ROTJ. It's made from Fiberglass and therefore fairly heavy. Each one has a plaque inside and is individually numbered, early numbered ones are especially good as they have by far the best shape.  Note that for some reason the face colour scheme is reversed (gray where black should be and vice versa. This can be noticed on the photo's below which shows how it looks "out the box". CKing's helmet (above) was extensively modified by him with new lenses, tusks, grills and a re-spray. 

Above, a couple of excellent photos sent to me by OOhYeahKL of his old DP Deluxe. Each helmet has a Don Post "Original" plaque on the inside,  expect to pay big bucks for a low serial - numbered helmet. Despite the cost,  you wont lose your money on it! See the "fans" section on this site to see his new complete Vader mannequin. Below, another great shot from CSMacLaren of his helmet. This time from a slightly different angle illustrating how the helmet varies when viewed from slightly different angles. The armor is fan-made - not sure of source.

 

Don Post Classic Action Darth Vader

In order to address the "mid-market", DP produced the Classic Action Vader using the the same moulds as the Deluxe - except its a mass-produced item in Vinyl rather than the Deluxe's Fiberglass - nevertheless its an extremely nice helmet.

Above, though it looks a little rough, these two shots of Alex's DP Classic Action helmet are the "before" and soon he'll be posting the "after" following some extensive work. Based on the same mold as the excellent Fiberglass Deluxe helmet it is nonetheless a great base to work from.

Above more shots of the Don Post C/A Vader (DP Ref 82108). These cost about $170 a couple of years ago, but the price is rising to $600-$700 for a nice one on ebay. It's made from the same mould as the Deluxe and therefore the dimensions are 100% spot-on (although the features are obviously softer). It's made from a hard vinyl plastic and is therefore much lighter than a fiberglass helmet, and is therefore ideal for costuming. 

Many prop makers and costumers use the Classic Action as an excellent base with the one above owned by Thomas (aka SithLord) shown in its original untouched condition. However many have customised it (like Anson below), adding a custom spray job and replacement lenses, grilles etc. However, given the build quality and the level of work that's required to get it to "display" standard its now just plain overpriced and imo you should spend your money on a decent fiberglass copy instead!

Above from Anson, a couple of shots of Hannon's modified CA with tusks, grills and excellent paint-job. 

 

These four images above and below show how fantastic a modified Don Post Classic Action can look. This one was owned and modified by Steve the Swede, its been given it a custom re-spray, new tusks and replacement grills.

The following three shots are from Michael of his heavily modified Classic Action. As you can see he's done a huge amount of work on it and the results are just incredible.

The final shot being a comparison against an unaltered helmet and clearly illustrates what can be done with this helmet with time, effort and a big slice of talent!

Below Juan from Puerto Rico recently sent me this pic of his totally re-worked Don Post Classic Action Vader- again absolutely superb

And just to finish off a couple more pics of another great re-worked Don Post Classic Action ESB Vader helmet, this one by Brandon Lee

 

Don Post Standard Darth Vader Helmet

This was the very first helmet Don Post produced back in 1977, along with the Stormtrooper and Don Post continued to produce them until the late 90's, passing the moulds over to Rubies to continue. These come up on ebay all the time and typically for $50-$75

They're really undersized and made of vinyl such that the face mask is quite pliable and can be bent with ease. The separate dome/helmet section is much firmer though and if dropped from a height it would probably crack and break . I remember being extremely buzzed when I bought mine way back in 1980 from Disneyland as my very fist Star Wars Helmet. We all have to start somewhere -  I've still got it now.
Above right a copy of an advert from one of the SW poster mags from 1977/78. On the inside they have stamped "Star Wars masks Copyright 20th Century Film Corporation" in big capital letters on the inside of the dome.

Above a shot of the dome/helmet section removed showing the single strip of velcro that holds in in place. Such is the difference in size and weight between a Standard Don Post and a more accurate Fiberglass helmet that the latter needs far more to hold the helmet section in place.

Below some shots of a rather nice modified Don Post Darth Vader helmet - where one of our readers has taken it upon himself to strip, modify and repaint the entire helmet.

And then just to show you what CAN be done with a really cheap helmet, Jeremy Skidmore took his and gave it a complete overall. Superb!